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Spreading Warm Holiday Wishes with Our 2019 Free-Ride Holiday Bus

Spreading Warm Holiday Wishes with Our 2019 Free-Ride Holiday Bus

December 02,2019

During the most wonderful time of the year—our free-ride Holiday bus is put into service to spread some unexpected cheer. From now until the strike of midnight on December 31, a specially wrapped Holiday bus will be in service on routes throughout the East Bay. The theme of this year’s bus is “WARM HOLIDAY WISHES,” and it features an eye-catching design of seasonal cookies.

The tradition of a free-ride Holiday bus began 56 years ago, when AC Transit was still in its infancy. And just like another more well-known Holiday tradition, we drive a festively decorated vehicle from town to town, spreading joy along the way. Watch for our Holiday bus to make an appearance on lines throughout the service area for the remainder of 2019. When you see it, get on and ride for free. While onboard, grab an AC Transit family baking recipe from one of the brochure racks. We hope you’ll share some of your own family recipes with us at We’ll update weekly to share what we receive with the rest of our community.

If you share a recipe that we post to the website or tag us in a photo of the free-ride Holiday bus, we will gift you a limited-edition paper model in the design of this year’s bus. They make great stocking-stuffers! Be sure to use the hashtag #actransit in your post—and just like the helpers of another well-known Holiday gift giver, our elves will be watching for them on social media.

We at AC Transit thank you for your continued ridership and support. We’re looking forward to many exciting things on the horizon in 2020 and many more miles together on the roads of the East Bay. Happy holidays, from our family to yours!

From AC Transit Staff…

Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2.5 cups flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt (kosher, sea salt)
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ cup softened or room temperature butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup white sugar
  • Chocolate chips or chunks

Prep Instructions:

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or baking mat. In a separate bowl combine and mix flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder. Set aside.

In a mixer on medium speed, cream together butter and sugars until smooth.

Beat in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract until volume increases and becomes fluffy.

Hand-fold in dry ingredients minus chocolate chips or chunks, mix well. Add chocolate chips or chunks last.

Roll dough mix into 2.9-ounce balls and press them down onto baking mat to circular cookie shape. Let dough chill and rest in fridge for 4 hours or overnight.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake in for approximately 8-10 minutes until slightly brown. Remove tray from oven and sit on cooling rack for 10 minutes.

As a finishing touch, you may add a sprinkle of sea salt on top of cookies.

Sweet Potato Muffins


  • ½ cup butter
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1¼ cups canned sweet potatoes (not in syrup) mashed
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup chopped pecans
  • ½ cup raisins, chopped

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Grease 1½ inch muffin tins.

Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and mix well.

Blend in the sweet potatoes. Mix the flour with the baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Add alternatively with the milk. (Do not overmix.)

Fold in the nuts and raisins. Fill the greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes.

Note:  Muffins can be frozen and reheated, or served at room temperature.

Kolache Cookies


  • 3 oz cream cheese
  • 4 oz unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 6 tbsp jam (flavor of your choice)
  • 1 tsp confectioner’s sugar (for dusting)

Prep Instructions:

Cream together the butter and cream cheese until smooth and slightly fluffy.

Mix in the flour, a third at a time, until combined. Form into a ball, wrap with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface into a thin layer (about ¼ inch thick). Trim the edges off the dough and cut it into squares (about 2 ½ inches each).

Put about 1 tsp of jam in the middle of each square and fold over opposite corners of each square so that they overlap slightly. Bind the two points together by pressing with one finger on the inside and one on the outside, using a little water if needed to help them seal.

Place the cookies on a lined cookie sheet and bake them for 15-18 minutes, until they become lightly golden brown around the edges.

Let cool for a few minutes before carefully transferring them onto a cooling rack.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

Pizzelle Cookies

(You will need to use a pizzelle iron in order to bake the cookies.)


  • 3 eggs
  • ¾ cups sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • ½ cup butter or margarine (1/4 lb.) melted and cooled
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon anise extract and anise seeds
  • Grated orange peel to taste

Prep Instructions:

Beat eggs, adding more sugar gradually. Beat until smooth. Add cooled, melted butter, anise extract, anise seeds, and grated orange peel. Sift flour and baking powder together. Add to egg mixture. Dough should be slightly sticky.

Baking Instructions:

Heat your pizzelle iron. Grease it as directed in the manufacturer’s instructions.

Drop a teaspoon of batter on each side of the pizzelle iron and close.

Bake for 30 seconds to 1 minute, until golden brown. Remove each pizzelle using a nonstick spatula, and place onto a cooling rack.

Cool completely and dust with powdered sugar if desired.

Striped Delight Pudding


  • 1½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 8 oz softened cream cheese
  • 2 tbs milk
  • 8 oz container of whipped cream
  • 1 package (6-serving size) instant pudding
  • 3 ½ cups milk

Prep Instructions:

Combine graham cracker crumbs, ¼ cup sugar and melted butter. Press firmly into the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch pan.

Combine cream cheese, ¼ cup sugar and milk. Beat until smooth.

Fold in half the whipped topping. Spread over crust.

Using cold milk, prepare pudding as directed on package. Spread over cream cheese layer. Chill for several hours or overnight.

Spread remaining whipped cream over pudding. Top with grated chocolate or chopped nuts, if desired.

No baking required.

Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies


  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon peel
  • 4 ¼ cup un-sifted flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Sugar to decorate

Prep Instructions:

Cream together the butter and sugars. Beat in eggs, one at a time until fluffy. Add oil, vanilla, and peel. Beat.

In a separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add to sugar mixture. Chill in refrigerator for several hours.

Baking Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease cookie sheets.

Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden brown. Dust with confectioner’s sugar if desired.



  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon yeast
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Raisins or other dried fruits
  • Lemon and orange zest
  • 1/4 cup rum or rakija

Prep Instructions:

Mix all above ingredients, cover and let rise about 30 minutes

Cooking Instructions:

Spoon a small amount of dough into hot oil (not olive oil). Fry until light brown. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle powder sugar onto finished fritule.

Rum Cake (or other alcohol)


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (if you are doing something other than plain rum, consider chocolate cake mix, lemon cake mix, orange cake mix)
  • 1 small box of instant vanilla pudding (if you are doing a different flavor, use a different flavor pudding mix to match your cake mix/alcohol)
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup rum (or other alcohol such as banana rum, lemon cheesecake liqueur, limoncello, orangecello, Godiva chocolate, rumchata, caramel vodka, etc).
  • 4 eggs

Prep Instructions:

Mix all ingredients and pour into a large Bundt pan or 2 round pans; or you could use the batter to make cupcakes!

Baking Instructions:

Bake at 325°F between 35-60 minutes, depending upon the pan you use.

Remove from the oven, once you’ve placed a toothpick in the middle of the cake and it comes out clean. Let cool. Once cool, use a fork to poke holes into the cake to help it soak up the glaze.

Melt ½ cup butter in a saucepan. Once melted, add 1 cup sugar and ¼ cup water. Let it boil lightly for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Turn off the heat and let the bubbles simmer down.

SLOWLY add 1/2 cup of your alcohol of choice (rum, etc.) If you do this too fast or before the bubbles have simmered down, the alcohol will cause the glaze to bubble up and burn you.

Mix well. Use a turkey baster to frost the cake with this glaze. Make sure to do it slowly to allow the cake to soak up the glaze If possible, let the cake marinate for a day before serving. Cake can be served heated; with fresh fruit and whipped cream or ice cream; or enjoy plain.